Nationally, homicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 15 to 19. In Philadelphia it is the leading cause.
In 2008, there were 179 homicides committed against youth ages 7 to 24 in Philadelphia - a 20% increase over the previous year. Nearly all these deaths were attributed to shootings. More young people are the perpetrators of gun violence as well. In 2008, roughly two-thirds of shooting offenders in Philadelphia were between the ages of 14 and 24.
Originally developed in Chicago, CeaseFire is a violence intervention based on the premise that violence is a public health issue and can be prevented. Based in Temple’s Center for Urban Bioethics (CUB), Philadelphia CeaseFire duplicates the evidence-based methodology of the CeaseFire Chicago public health model, focusing its efforts in the 22nd Police District of North Philadelphia. In 2009, the 22nd Police District had the highest number of shootings in the city. In addition, the number and rate of shootings for youth ages 14 to 25 years was the highest in Philadelphia.
CeaseFire’s approach includes efforts to heighten community awareness about gun violence and encourage area residents, community, business and faith-based leaders to work together and get involved. CeaseFire uses the five core components of the Chicago model:
- Community mobilization
- Youth outreach
- Public education
- Leadership involvement
- Criminal justice participation
Philadelphia CeaseFire is directed by Marla Davis-Bellamy.